Our relationship with Steve began with an idea. It was a moment of sychronicity when Alex and I had the same inspiration at about the same time, although it had come from two different sources. We had been getting this amazing caviar from some guy out in Michigan and we had been playing around with smoked salt in our kitchen. The idea? To cure caviar with smoked salt. Alex badgered our purveyor to try and talk the caviar guy into testing the idea. The purveyor in turn gave Alex Steve's phone number and said ask him yourself. Alex called him up and it was the beginning of a beautiful relationship and lots of great food. As with many of our friends and colleagues we have never met in person but I'm sure we'll get together eventually. In the meantime he has been a source of great products and inspirations over the years. We're pleased to introduce him to all of you. As with Shola, Steve will be checking on the comments periodically so if there are any questions for him, fire away...
I was just getting ready to do some fly-fishing for steelhead in northern Michigan. The real reason that I have located the BLiS facility here in Michigan is because of the short drive to the woods and waters. I guess the reasons that I wanted to do this post are not only that we have maintained contact prior to the inception of the company, and the fact that you asked me to, but because we share some of the same styles of food concepts and contrasts, as well as having common interests. Your willingness to share and to be open with the knowledge pool is a real asset to maintaining the culinary arts. It is why success will be forthcoming always, but possibly not exactly if and when you expect it.
Our company, if you might call it that, is not big at all. It’s basically a chef trying to deliver cool things to other chefs to work with. The retail end is not a driving force because the product seems to take a measurable amount of skill to use to their full advantage. There is a lot of dialogue and energy needed to explain how to be creative with Bourbon Aged Maple syrup or with a citrus and smoked Fleur de Sel roe. Fresh wild infused and natural roes do not appear to work well with the beginner gourmet. Although they are not meant to be, we believe that the products can be intimidating for novices. They do not always understand how to utilize them, but if something tastes good, it tastes good. It’s getting to the next stage of asking yourself what to do with what you’ve got, instead of just asking how do you eat the fresh roe, or can you put the bourbon aged syrup on pancakes? This knowledge is something that I have learned by watching the sales trends. I do not want to sound condescending, but the fact is that most of our retail customers seem happiest to use the products as they are instead of as the building blocks they are meant to be.
This is not at all the case with chefs, which has been fantastic! I think we will state right here that we are a chef-driven company. Hey, that’s got a nice ring to it. Where would we be without you? BliS has grown fairly rapidly and keeping that growth in check is the top priority. We only want to sell enough of our products to be able to do it right. When we sell out, that’s it. Much like in the wine business only a finite amount of product per season or vintage is available and when it’s gone its gone. Food and wine have basically consumed my professional life for many years, only second to my enjoyment of the outdoors. I created BLiS as something different, but still sort of in the business. It’s just enough to get my food and wine fix in. We all know that you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. Now I’m off to go fishing. Later I’ll be back to rack barrels in the solera and then I’ll go pick up char at the Canadian border. It’s a great blend of all the things I love to do and it’s all in a day’s work.